The MSC Group’s Cruise Division has confirmed firm orders for two hydrogen-powered cruise ships for its luxury travel brand Explora Journeys placed with the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri.
MSC also pledged to continue its push towards a net zero-carbon emissions target by 2050 by investigating additional new and advanced environmental technologies for the luxury
The latest contracts complete an investment of €3.5 bill in six luxury ships for Explora Journeys. The contracts are still subject to access to financing as per industry practice.
‘Explora V’ and ‘Explora VI’ will have new energy efficiency measures fitted and will also be capable of using alternative fuels, such as bio and synthetic gas and methanol.
MSC also said that it will work in the future with Fincantieri to equip the ships with future technologies, including carbon capture, and more advanced waste management systems.
They are due to be delivered in 2027 and 2028.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman – Cruise Division, MSC Group (pictured), said, “With Explora Journeys we have created a luxury brand that has been successful at redefining luxury at sea. We are seeing continued growth in the luxury segment and the investment in these two new ships shows our commitment to continue to grow within this sector as well as to invest in ships of the future.
“Together with Fincantieri we will study the newest technology that the world has to offer and continue with our commitment to introduce these technologies to drive efficiencies across the whole spectrum of ship performance. And of course we will
continue to deliver the very best luxury travel experience, immersing our guests in the ocean state of mind with an sustainable soul,” he said.
Pierroberto Folgiero, Fincantieri CEO, added “This new contract with MSC is a sign of the growing vitality of the cruise sector, in line with what we had predicted.
“In strategic terms, our future will depend on our ability to lead the evolution of the sector towards all energy and digital transition technologies with the entrepreneurship required to validate, industrialise and commercialise new solutions.
“The relevance of the partnership with MSC in this sense is a great strategic stimulus towards the future in line with the technological development goals set out in our new business plan.
“We are therefore particularly proud that the Explora project will mark the acceleration of this new phase, which with the fifth and sixth ships, will reach the highest level of advancement, making Fincantieri’s vision of the ship of the future ever more concrete,” he said.
The company will pursue the use of liquid hydrogen with fuel cells for the ships’ hotel operations while berthed in ports to eliminate carbon emissions with the vessels’ engines switched off. They will also feature a new generation of LNG engines that will further tackle the issue of methane slip with the use of
Explora Journeys’ first ship, ‘Explora I’ was delivered by Fincantieri in July, 2023 and is currently operating in
Northern Europe. She will spend the autumn in North America, and the winter in the Caribbean Sea.
‘Explora II’ will enter service in the summer of 2024 and operate until April, 2025 in the Mediterranean, the
Middle East, the Indian Ocean and Africa visiting 82 ports in 26 countries.
‘Explora III’ will enter service in summer 2026. Her construction started on 6th September, 2023 with a steel-cutting ceremony. Construction of the LNG-powered ‘Explora IV’ will begin in January, 2024 and will be completed in early 2027.
All six ships in Explora Journeys’ fleet will be equipped with the latest environmental and marine technologies, including the latest selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to enable a reduction of NOx emissions by 90%.
They will also be equipped with shore power plug-in connectivity to reduce emissions in port and will be fitted with underwater noise management systems to help protect marine life, plus a comprehensive range of on board energy efficient equipment to optimise engine use to further reduce emissions.